After the window, I was feeling pretty good about this whole miniature dollhouse building thing. So good, in fact, I decided it was time to get the door in order. After all, what’s a dollhouse with a window and a door? A prison, maybe. I’m not sure.
Anyway, I’m pretty excited about how this turned out. I think some of the things I’m teaching myself are finally starting to stick. That said, this was a pretty easy project, except for the “hinge.” It’s not really a hinge, of course, It’s a tiny nail. Like miniature (ha). But, I gotta say, like all things miniature, for something so small, it was a huge pain!
Break It Down
Here’s the door.
As you can see, it’s the door and the door frame. What you can’t tell from this picture is that the door is attached to the door frame with the tiny nail I mentioned. Here’s a view of the door from the top (or bottom. More on that in a minute):
That’s the nail head you’re seeing.
The instructions say I have to pry that nail up to disassemble the door for painting. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why bother? It’s already assembled. Why not just paint it as is?
Believe it or not, I think that’s doable. You’ll see in other pictures, but when you swing the door open, it’s possible to get to nearly every inch of the door and the frame. The parts where you can’t, you wouldn’t see anyway, so who cares?
But, it is not easy to paint the door when it’s fully assembled. It’s hard to get the brush into all the places you want. Plus, as you’re maneuvering the door, it swings out from time to time. Trust me. The few times I held the door up to take a picture, the stupid thing wouldn’t stay shut!
So, even though getting that nail out was a pain, disassembling the door to paint it first is the way to go.
Speaking of That Nail
So, yeah. That nail.
The instructions said, “pry it up.” OK. Sounds easy enough. The thing is, the nail head is flush against the wood. You’re going to need something super strong and super thin to get under there.
First, I tried a seam ripper.
But the “fork” part was too thick to slide under the nail.
Then I tried an old butter knife. I’m not going to lie. I have no idea why I still have this thing. For projects like this, I guess.
Still too thick.
Up next, a staple remover.
I had some success with this, but it wasn’t a total triumph. I was able to get under the nail a little, but I couldn’t grab the nail with the remover. Instead, I grabbed the part of the hail head that was out with my fingers and pulled.
This is the nail that caused all the trouble:
Then, I secured the nail someplace I wouldn’t lose it.
And, just in case I do lose the nail, I’ve got the back-up instructions handy. I wonder how someone cuts a paperclip to size, but I’m not going to worry about that since I don’t plan on losing the miniature nail.
The rest of the door disassembly was pulling the door out the frame. The bottom (or top) has a nail embedded in the door that slides into a hole in the frame. With the top (or bottom) nail out, the door moves freely in the frame, making it easy to pull the door out of the frame.
The Door Is More than a Door
Next up was figuring out which piece is the “doorstep.” I don’t know what else to call it (even though the instructions call it the door base). It’s the piece that helps hold the door in place in the frame, but it looks like a doorstep, so… yeah.
When you place the door frame in the cutout, it fits just fine. But, the doorstep helps hold the frame “up,” meaning there’s no gap at the top between the frame and the hole. So, it’s kind of an important piece.
And, the door frame has more “frame” on the inside. There are three pieces of wood that are supposed to go around the hole on the inside of the dollhouse to create the inside “frame.” It’s not really a frame as much as it is “stuff to hide the gap.”
Anyway, given how well I’ve done finding pieces, I figured, finding the doorstep would be a challenge.
Here’s a bunch of orphan pieces that I haven’t quite matched up with anything in the instructions.
Well, there’s only one way to figure this out.
Here’s the frame on its own.
I figure the best way to do this is to start laying pieces down next to it and seeing what fits.
Finding the step was pretty easy, but the side pieces… I don’t know.
Here’s one side piece:
It’s blurry, I know. But, as you can see, it doesn’t quite fit. Admittedly, this is outside of the frame, so it won’t be perfect, but I’m not holding out hope this is the right piece.
In other news
I thought that maybe this was the stair stringer. Spoiler alert, it’s not, but I kind of figured that going in. It looks too short (and I’m right).
However, as I was digging through my bag of misfit parts, I found a piece that I had tagged as something else. The tag has long since fallen off (yeah. I need a better system), so I don’t know what that was. But, as it turns out, this mystery piece is the missing stair stringer!
Phew! I’m so glad I solved that mystery. No, really. I’m excited about this. I haven’t put the wrong part in the wrong place yet!
And the Door Frame?
In the end, I gave up on trying to locate the rest of the door frame. I still have a lot of interior work to do, so it’s not like I need it right now. Instead, I decided to focus my efforts on what I did have: the door, the frame, and the doorstep.
I figured that’s enough for this project.
Up Next, Priming
Of course, I’ve learned that you should always prime your wood pieces before you paint, so that’s just what I did. Next thing to teach me: how to prime without leaving a disaster in my wake. Behold:
Drippy stuff, I know. I’m learning I’m not really good with detail work. And, I swear, this isn’t because I’m rushing anything. I tend to overload the paintbrush and, well, then this happens.
More newbie mistakes, of course!
I won’t bore you with the rest of the priming. I did, however, take a dry brush and fix the drips as best as I could.
Here’s a picture of the outside of the frame and the doorstep.
Fabulous, I know.
Then, on to the door.
The door presented some unique challenges with the middle panels.
As you can see, the primer kind of gathers against the raised side of the middle panels. I did what I could to get it out of there. But, and you’ll see, I’m only half successful.
One more thing before we move on. I painted the attached “hinge,” too.
At the time, I mostly thought it was amusing, which is why I took the picture. But, and I didn’t realize this until I was preparing this post and found the picture, I think it made an impact on the door swing.